When I was in high school the art teacher would stand outside of her classroom during passing period and yell at students who were using their cell phones…during passing period. These students were not missing any instruction, nor obstructing the flow of the hall ways but it was after all a place of education and to her, that was no place for cell phones; in or out of class. Every one thought once they entered university the chewing outs over cell phone usage would diminish, how wrong were we? Last week I got chewed out in one of my classes for having my cell phone out and the only reason I was using it was to add an assignment we had just been given to my calender.
I didn’t own a cell phone until I was in high school, and I didn’t have a smart phone with internet capabilities until I was a senior. Kids these days however are handed a cell phone straight out of the womb. That’s an exaggeration of course, but I’ve noticed kids even younger than first grade brandishing their very own Iphone. When I was that age I communicated with my siblings on drug store walkie-talkies while we were out in the woods building forts and digging holes. It is impossible to deny that this generation of school children have their phone glued to their hand, and administration and teachers just cannot fight it anymore. Why should we fight it though? Smart phones are full of educational apps and whatever is on the internet without even moving from their seats. Why fight cell phone usage when we can use it for instruction rather than distraction.
While the idea seems radical, hear me out. The students are going to be using their cell phones anyways, so why not direct their attention to something like Duo-lingo (if their in Spanish class) whether than Facebook. Why not have them write a current events research paper using only what they can find on twitter (yes, that’s right we can use “normal” apps for education too)? Here’s a radical idea, in PE classes from elementary through high school have them play Heads-up, a charades game that will have the students moving and having fun at the same time (fitness IS fun).There is also an app that allows unlimited TEDtalk videos, this would be great for both in class use or distance learning.
Distance learning is another great feature that using a mobile device for education allows. A recent study showed that while some students do not have access to a computer home over 75% of students had their own smart phone. Click here to read more on this. This means wherever they are they have access to the internet and their emails. Even when they aren’t somewhere they can access the internet, many apps don’t require connection to run.
For PE classes in particular there is a great number of apps that could come in handy. I already mentioned Heads-up but there are many others like Daily Routine that can help you track and plan your day, which is essential to a healthy lifestyle. There is Workout Trainer and many, many apps like it; it is full of fun workouts and single exercises that can range all the way from beginner to advanced. App stores are full of interval timers that are great when interval work is on the schedule for the day, so rather than having the whole class on the same timer they can time themselves as they do the workout. There is also a wealth of gym log apps that help you keep track of your exercise for the day and on some your meals as well. That would be great for the class to do for the semester. All of the apps I just mentioned can be found in the Apple App store and probably in the android market or google play store as well.
Click here to see more great apps for education.